Council budget approved
Inverclyde Council has approved its budget for next year.
The council’s overall budget of £203m and a three-year capital budget to fund infrastructure costs of nearly £61m was approved at a meeting today (18 March 2021).
The budget includes additional support for up to 4,000 households who will each receive a £100 Council Tax credit this year to support those who fall the wrong side of other covid financial support.
The council has also put in place an additional £10m in funds to support the community through the pandemic.
A new £4m covid recovery fund is now in place to support the community and services recover from the effects of the pandemic. The council also confirmed a £6m covid jobs recovery fund to support increased jobs, training and employability projects across Inverclyde.
Inverclyde Council Leader, Councillor Stephen McCabe, said: “This year, once again, our budget proposals were agreed unanimously by the cross-party Members’ Budget Working Group. A unique way of delivering a budget for our communities and I thank my fellow councillors for their work over the past year during extremely unusual and challenging times we have all faced.
“The overall reaction of local government to the final Scottish budget settlement, as expressed in a motion passed unanimously by Council Leaders last Friday at COSLA, is one of “deep disappointment”.
“Leaders across Scotland’s councils noted that with the increase in public pay sector policy but no additional funding for local government, and the re-profiling of capital funding for town centres and bridge maintenance over two years, the financial position of local government has effectively worsened compared with the publication of the initial draft budget.
“Last month council agreed its council tax including the freeze. It is worth remembering that around a quarter of households in Inverclyde will receive no benefit from the Council Tax freeze, which is why we have brought forward our own proposal to credit £100 to the Council Tax accounts of nearly 4,000 of these households and to support those who may not be eligible for other covid-related support.
“In recognition of the extraordinary circumstances we have faced over the past year and the challenges that lie ahead as a result of the immediate economic and social impacts of the pandemic, councillors previously agreed a strategy of setting a revenue budget for 2021/22 and 2022/23 on the basis of minimum reductions to frontline services and jobs. The proposals contained in the council budget report achieve this objective for 2021/22 and make significant progress towards achieving the same outcome for 2022/23.
“This has been achieved mostly through the use of £5.6m of reserves. This is obviously not a sustainable strategy and the budget report highlights that there remains an estimated revenue funding gap of £9.6m to be closed over the next two years, which is a sobering thought for all of us.
“We have also re-prioritised our earmarked reserves to support recovery from Covid with the creation of a £6m Inverclyde jobs recovery plan and a £4m covid recovery fund, providing much needed support of £10m to our communities over the next two years.”
“Despite ongoing cuts to our capital grant we will still have a significant three-year capital programme with total investment of £60m planned supporting increasing technology support and improving our buildings and roads network. As with revenue, reduced funding for capital will make it extremely challenging in future years to maintain our existing assets never mind invest in new ones.”